Grilling Italian Style

Last Sunday we were having a terrible time, both with the heat and with my own unfamiliarity with Kailua. We wanted to find a place to sit down and eat. We went around and around and finally stopped at Longs to get some cash. I was fortunate enough to find a couple at the ATM that recommended Formaggio Grill. Seeing my frustration and sweaty brow, the wife just laughed at me and suggested we just kind of move across the street and around the corner a little. So, we did!


We stepped in the door of this relatively new addition to the Windward side of the island and were met with the coolest air conditioning you can imagine and greeted by a very nice host and friendly atmosphere. Of course we were dying in the heat so anything cooler than outside would have been welcome! The nice young host was concerned about how crowded the restaurant was and that we might have to wait. As it worked out, we didn’t have to wait long at all and we were seated and given cold water, other beverages and menus.

Decor inside the restaurant

While looking at the menu and trying to figure out just what we had walked into, I noticed that the decor was interesting. There were paintings or sketches hung on warm, mustard-colored walls. The art work was interesting to look at and to try to figure them out. The most interesting one, I found, was the picture all the way on the right in the picture above. You can’t really tell but it’s of the Mona Lisa but it looks like a paint-by-number that was never completed. Was the artist still looking for Ms. Right? Maybe. He was obviously still trying to figure out how to color his ideal woman.

View of the dining room and the bar

It was pretty quiet as people started to leave after finishing their lunch. It was already close to 3:00 in the afternoon.

Facing the window into the kitchen

I’m pretty sure that what we see in the background of the picture above is the kitchen, or certainly a portion of it. Our waiter, Jason, was a great help to us as we asked about things on the menu. What a wonderful menu or yummy choices! Jason’s suggestions were good ones. The food actually worked out nicely — the available selections would make any palate happy.

Bowl of very hot onion soup

Mom saw onion soup on the menu and decided that was for her! It smelled wonderful and looked even better! As she spooned through it like we all do with soup, the amount 0f cheese was amazing. That’s one soup that would give French onion soup a run for its money! You should have seen the amount of cheese. Woo hoo! I guess that was French onion soup with an Italian twist.

I was drooling over the steak choices on the menu but they were more for dinner and a little too pricey for lunch. The original location of Formaggio is actually on the other side of the hill from this one. It’s on the Honolulu side of the Koolaus, in the Market City shopping center on Kapiolani Blvd. That one is more focused on liquor. We were lucky enough to be in the location where the food was the focus.

Kobe Burger on Panini

Anyway, I opted for their signature burger, the Kobe Burger Panini, with a side of salad sprinkled with a to-die-for dressing. This burger actually made it on to the cover of Honolulu Magazine. I’m not much of a salad person, except for the occasional craving, but this one was one to talk about. I had to ask twice about the dressing because it sounded too simple to be so good. Thedressing was a combination of 18-year-old balsamic delizio, grey poupon, olive oil, salt and pepper — that’s it. So good!

Chocolate Bread Pudding ala mode

Mom got a piece of chocolate bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and chocolate and vanilla drizzles.

Blueberry Cheesecake

I just thought the blueberry cheesecake sounded good. It was.

This is a great restaurant with great atmosphere, great service, and great food. The only drawback is that the prices can add up very quickly. So, I think this is a great place for special-occasion eating. If you’re after just a casual meal, this might not be the best expenditure of your money. If you want really good food and you have something to celebrate, I give this place very high marks!

Formaggio Grill
305 Hahani Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
(808) 263-2633

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Honolulu real estate // Jul 23, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    oh, those pictures look so ono!

  • 2 HawaiiVacationGifts // Jul 23, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    My husband was born and raised in Kailua and still has family living there. I will definitely want to check this place out!

  • 3 Evelyn // Jul 24, 2008 at 5:20 am

    There’s some wonderful fish selections on the menu too, you guys!

    Justin, maybe you can use it to take potential clients out to lunch. 🙂

    HVG, when you guys come over from the Big Island to visit, I would highly recommend it as a great night out for you and hubby! Hey, make it a vacation thing — to get away from it all. 🙂

  • 4 Turn on the Sirens! It’s Carnival Time! // Sep 1, 2008 at 9:10 am

    […] I’m going to share the food from Formaggio Grill with you guys once again .  Take a look at Grilling Italian Style posted right here at Homespun Honolulu and wait for your stomach to growl!  🙂  All this food is […]

  • 5 skeet // Sep 5, 2008 at 1:37 am

    There’s a shortage of good Italian restaurants on Oahu. I’ve added this one to my list of places to check out!

    Mahalo for taking care of me this month. I’m back online with a new computer (the virus ate the hard drive in my old one.) I’ll try to send in a timely submission next time the Carnival comes to town!

  • 6 Evelyn // Sep 5, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Hiya Skeet! The main thing is, you’re back up and running! Damn virus nonsense — grrrr! I’m sorry your had so much ‘puter drama.

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